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We Get It, Jacob Elordi Is a Heartthrob

On last night’s SNL, Jacob Elordi’s attractiveness worked against him.

Will Heath / NBC

If you know two things about the Saltburn and Priscilla star Jacob Elordi, you’re probably aware that he’s very tall (Google says 6 feet 5 inches) and very handsome in a classical way (sharp cheekbones, strong chin). If you were seeking more information, you didn’t get it from his hosting gig on last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live.

Nearly every time Elordi was on-screen, the show made sure to remark on his beauty, and it made for a fairly sleepy 90 minutes in which attractiveness became a lazy shorthand for charisma. Trying as he might to show off his range by putting on different accents, Elordi was, in sketch after sketch, tasked with being hot so that he could be fawned over by the women in the cast. The resulting jokes felt regressive—yes, ladies were into the big, gorgeous man—and frustratingly stale.

The Elordi beats of the episode also stood in stark contrast to those featuring the evening’s other special appearances: the singer and actor Renée Rapp, who brought out the always-captivating Megan Thee Stallion for one of her musical performances, a song from the new Mean Girls movie in which Rapp stars. Rapp’s turn as the film’s antagonist, Regina George, also meant that Rachel McAdams—who played the role in the original 2004 film—was on hand to introduce her, and even made a cameo in a sketch as a bad actor who happened to look like McAdams.

The night especially felt like a star-making turn for Rapp, who has made headlines for her frank interviews on the Mean Girls press tour but here showed off her pop-star presence as she belted out her track “Snow Angel.” Even when she showed up briefly in a sketch as the “little lesbian intern” of Elordi and Bowen Yang’s celebrity lip readers, she outshone everyone else.

Rapp’s comfort in her own skin stood in contrast to Elordi’s seeming timidness, starting in his opening monologue, during which he took softball questions from the “audience”—meaning SNL writers and cast members. One called him “babygirl” before asking a ho-hum query about his Priscilla part as Elvis, while another said, “No question. I just want to look at you.” In the sketch that followed, Elordi played the surprise contestant on a reality dating show called Crown Your Short King. The bachelorette, played by Chloe Fineman, was supposed to pick from a crew of men under 5 feet 8 inches tall, but she ditched all the finalists when Elordi appeared, even though his character was a gum-chewing bro who grabbed his crotch. His off-putting demeanor didn’t matter: He looked like Jacob Elordi.

Several other sketches operated on a similar premise. In “Women’s AA Meeting,” a group of gathered female alcoholics welcomed Elordi’s character, a man named Joshua, when he walked through the door, despite having just shooed away another dude (Mikey Day). When Joshua started talking about his reliance on sex in place of drugs and alcohol, and that he was even more insatiable when he was on substances, the women cozied up to him further, offering him beers and growing visibly hornier. One woman (Punkie Johnson) unbuttoned her dress, revealing her bra. The frantic libidos of the women did give the cast members some funny material, but to little end. Even Johnson’s near nudity felt unsurprising.

“Acting Class” had a bit more nuance, with Elordi as a “very successful working actor” taking questions from a group of students. Asked about his career, his character came off as blithely unaware of any of the challenges most actors face. He described walking off a plane in L.A. and being personally handed a role in a music video by Selena Gomez, and was perplexed by the word rejection. In fact, the whole sketch played like something of a metaphor for the rest of Elordi’s time on SNL: If you look like him you just aren’t challenged that much, whether you’re trying to get jobs or you’re hosting a long-running comedy show.

The final bit of the night gave Elordi a chance to show off his weirder side when he played a groom in “Garrett From Hinge: Wedding,” named for Bowen Yang’s Family Guy–quoting incel-type who first appeared in the Travis Kelce–hosted episode. At the end of the sketch, Elordi’s Brian left his bride and absconded to the bathroom with Garrett, nursing hurt feelings and talking about his “killing wand.” It was an oddball version of Elordi that never really got a chance to shine elsewhere. The sketch gave him more to do in part because the joke wasn’t just that he was good-looking. Yes, Brian stood in contrast to the bowl-cut-sporting Garrett, but he turned out to be a bizarro sidekick more than a better option.

His work in film this year shows that Elordi is a performer who can deploy an easygoing charm that works aptly with his dreaminess. But any remnants of that quality were mostly zapped away on SNL, where he had to just be a tall, handsome man. We all knew that about him anyway.

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